Can my employer force me to pay for a certification class or quit?

I work for a construction contractor. My employer told me today that I must go to a class next week (missing a days pay) and pay for a class to become fire watch certified or find another job. I feel as though this is extortion. And want to know If it’s legal.

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is legal: an employer may determine the required credentials, training, certifications, etc. which are necessary to hold a job. It can require employees to obtain those credentials on their own time (including by taking an unpaid day, or using a vacation or other PTO day, if the chance for the class is during the workweek) and at their own expense. If an employee does not have the required credential or training by the time the employer wants him or her to have it, the employer may terminate the employee.


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